Checks on houses of multiple occupation (HMO) in South Holland being made by police on South Holland District Council
New moves to protect tenants living in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) are gathering pace in South Holland.
Police and area housing officers are working together on inspecting properties in the area where seasonal agricultural workers live in case they are at risk from fire, gas and other dangers.
A licensing system for landlords of HMO properties came into force on October 1, 2018, after a case in Holbeach where action was taken to protect tenants.
In June 2018, a former owner of The Chequers Hotel, Holbeach, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £4,000 for failing to make improvements to the property and for not being a HMO landlord.
Then in November 2018, after HMO licensing came into force, the landlord of an unlicensed house in Chapel Street, Holbeach, was served with an emergency prohibition notice by South Holland District Council.
It followed the discovery of dangerous staircases inside the house, along with unsafe electrical wiring and a lack of adequate fire protection.
Under the order, all or part of the property is prevented from use and the number of people living there is restricted.
Coun Christine Lawton, the district council's portfolio holder for housing, said: "We are working closely with Lincolnshire Police to investigate suspected HMO properties and then be in a position to take appropriate enforcement action against those landlords who are operating without the proper HMO license.
"If there is evidence to suggest that a property is a HMO, we have the option of issuing a Civil Penalty Notice or prosecution."
Inspector Gareth Boxall, South Holland sector neighbourhood policing inspector, said: "We will continue to work with the district council and our other partners, determined to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in our society.
"Some HMO tenants have to live in terrible conditions at the same time as those responsible for them profit.
"Therefore, we will do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice."
. A house of multiple occupancy, or in multiple occupation, is a property where three or more people from two or more households are sharing the living conditions.
A HMO licence is needed if there are five or more tenants, from two or more households, sharing a property.
More by this authorWinston Brown